With the aim to perpetuate the memory of late Rtn S L Chitale, Rotary Club of Madras, RID 3232, has instituted the Rotary Kris Chitale Young Achievers Award and its first award ceremony was held along with the 91st anniversary event of the club in July. The award was constituted to recognise the decades of community service and philanthropy rendered by the late renowned architect from Chennai.“We decided to honour Chitale with an award in his name, but were scared if Kris (as he was known to his friends) would turn us down. He surprised us by saying ok, but with few conditions,” said PDG J B Kamdar.
Chitale directed that the award should be given to a child of 14 years or below with a good academic record or contribution to the community. The annual income of the child’s family must not exceed ₹2 lakh and the parents must not be associated with any Rotary entity. “We will be giving out this award each year, and hope the assistance will help lead the child chosen a step closer to his or her goals,” added Kamdar.
The first Kris Chitale Young Achievers Award, along with a cheque of ₹2 lakh, was presented to P V Sai Srinivasan, a Class 5 student from Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh. Apart from being a meritorious student, he has won 33 medals in State and national-level archery tournaments. He represented India at the World Indoor Archery Competition 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. The 12-year-old has entered the Asia Book of Records for shooting the maximum number of arrows in 15 minutes.
I feel proud of you. It’s not always money that gives you satisfaction. It’s seeing that you’re making a difference in someone’s life.
— RI Director Kamal Sanghvi
Srinivasan’s mother straightened his coat and decorated him with all the medals he has won to ensure that her son looked like a champion as he went on the stage to receive the award from RI Director Kamal Sanghvi.
“Take care of him, he is a national treasure,” Sanghvi told the mother. Addressing the Rotarians in the hall, he said, “I feel proud of you. It’s not always money that gives you satisfaction. It’s seeing that you’re making a difference in someone’s life.” The boy’s father Gopinath, who runs an Internet centre in Kadapa, expressed his gratitude to the Rotarians and said, “I could hardly manage his school fees and the house rent with my income. I was worried that he would not be able to go to New Zealand. I would like to thank his coach who never charged a single rupee for his training. This award will inspire him to fulfill his dream to represent India at the Olympics and win a gold medal.”
Club President Dr Vijaya Bharathi Rangarajan said, “Every Rotarian plays a major role in ensuring that we meet our club’s goals. We have done an outstanding job last year and will continue to do the same this year too.” Over the decades, the club has funded a bevy of projects and activities including setting up of Rotary Nagar at Sembakkam, a suburb of Chennai, restoration of water bodies and the launch of the Rotary End Polio Flame in 2014.
Picture by Kiran Zehra